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G.R. No.

207851, July 8, 2014


Angel Naval vs COMELEC and Nelson Julia

FACTS: Naval had served as member of the Sanggunian, 2nd District of CamSur. On October 12, 2009, RA 9716 was
approved, reapportioning the legislative district of Province of CamSur.

Notably, 8 out of 10 towns were taken from the old Second District to form the present Third District. The present Second
District is composed of the two remaining towns, Gainza and Milaor, merged with five towns from the old First District.

In the 2010 elections, Naval once again won as among the members of the Sanggunian, Third District. He served until 2013.

In the 2013 elections, Naval ran anew and was re-elected as Member of the Sanggunian, Third District.

Julia was likewise a Sanggunian Member candidate from the Third District in the 2013 elections. On October 29, 2012, he
invoked Section 7810 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) and filed before the COMELEC a Verified Petition to Deny Due
Course or to Cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of Naval. Julia posited that Naval had fully served the entire Province of
Camarines Sur for three consecutive terms as a member of the Sanggunian, irrespective of the district he had been elected
from. The three-term limit rule’s application is more with reference to the same local elective post, and not necessarily in
connection with an identical territorial jurisdiction. Allowing Naval to run as a Sanggunian member for the fourth time is
violative of the inflexible three-term limit rule enshrined in the Constitution and the LGC, which must be strictly construed.

COMELEC cancelled Naval's COC.


The conditions for the application of the three-term limit rule are present in the instant case as the records clearly establish
that [Naval] is running for the 4th time for the same government post. To put things in a proper perspective, it is imperative to
review and discuss the salient points in the case of Latasa v. [COMELEC].

ISSUE: The case involves the question of whether or not a municipal mayor, having been elected and had already served
for three (3) consecutive terms, can run as city mayor in light of the conversion of the municipality to a city.

In applying the three-term limit rule, the Court pointed out that the conversion of the municipality into a city did not convert
the office of the municipal mayor into a local government post different from the office of the city mayor. The Court took into
account the following circumstances: (1) That the territorial jurisdiction of [the] city was the same as that of the municipality;
(2) That the inhabitants were the same group of voters who elected the municipal mayor for three (3) consecutive terms; and
(3) That the inhabitants were the same group of voters [over] whom he held power and authority as their chief executive for
nine years.

RULING: Court denies the petition.

A republic is a representative government, a government run by and for the people. It is not a pure democracy where the
people govern themselves directly. The essence of republicanism is representation and renovation, the selection by the
citizenry of a corps of public functionaries who derive their mandate from the people and act on their behalf, serving for a
limited period only, after which they are replaced or retained, at the option of their principal.

R.A.No. 9716 plainly state that the new Second Districtis to be created, but the Third Districtis to be renamed. Verba legis
non est recedendum. The terms used in a legal provision to be construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the
courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers mean what they say.

The rationale behind reapportionment is the constitutional requirement to achieve equality of representation among the
districts. It is with this mindset that the Court should consider Naval’s argument anent having a new set of constituents
electing him into office in 2010 and 2013.

Naval’s ineligibility to run, by reason of violation of the three-term limit rule, does not undermine the right to equal
representation of any of the districts in Camarines Sur. With or without him, the renamed Third District, which he labels as a
new set of constituents, would still be represented, albeit by another eligible person.